I know so well…
Can only be reached by a single-lane road.
Comprised of rock, the path bleached white from the sun; further crushed to pebble from the universe of dreamers before me who have perhaps traveled here…
To the town I’ve never been, others have never been, too.
Don’t ask me how I know.
I’ve participated in the crush of these stones, although I have never been behind the wheel of an auto. My feet have not tapped a gas pedal or rode the brake. Yet, I have gone 35 mph over hills through wooded canopies to get to the place I never traveled.
I pass a farm on the way to the town I never knew.
A shadow man rides a tractor through vast acreage, uniformly tilled. He never fails to wave as I pass. His hand gray smoke, it disappears to a whisper and reunites with the wheel of his machine.
I make sure to return the greeting before I enter the town I have never been.
Eyes on the road. Broad-leafed trees afire in fall, a perpetual season of harvest. Boughs relent, drip low in orange-red homage to those who pass underneath.
Limbs extend in the direction of this hamlet. They point directly to the place I visit often and yet I have never been…
Verdant arteries spider down jagged hills of blood-red dirt.
At bottom, green melts into blue-emerald water. White caps twirl, roll, collapse into the clear. The peaks, briefly sunkissed before collapsing into blue, then rise again in a steady, calm cadence.
But, I haven’t experienced the cool of this water on my skin…
A cliff across the waves. Majestic, comfortable and worn with time. Houses pepper the strata. Each place, distinct. Each occupied. At least I think. Lights on, shadows shimmer in windows.
A special abode. Constructed mostly of redwood. An expansive, wraparound deck; a wall of glass showcases an unobstructed view of the town I never seen, close or afar.
In the living room a majestic tree, it prospers through a wood floor. The biggest Bonsai. Six-feet tall – highly unusual for such a species. A floor-to-ceiling stone hearth captures embers that never die, perpetually warm. I never planted this tree. Nor have I sparked an eternal flame that warms inhabitants and visitors. This seems to be a safe place.
The walk through town, visitors who enjoy the view from the deck, have been occupants in my head – a persistent dream for going on four years now.
I am relentlessly at peace in this house I’ve never been…
I enjoy the company when it decides to arrive. I have no idea how and why they’re there.
The air, cold. Not a bite, just a nip. The winds pregnant with warmness of wood on slow glow. Jasmine rises and is carried by air. The fragrance of rosemary permeates dusk. The sky, bluebird blue; dissipating heat births broiler waves onto a blood-orange horizon as warm water relents to the cool of the night.
The town itself is small. Quaint. Aged with whitewashed exteriors, they badly require a coat of paint. Some structures are brick. Inside each establishment, the walls replete with cedar panels.
A pub, a tiny restaurant – lit candles on every table, a grocer; a shop that sells dried flowers and tinctures. I can never make out shopkeeper faces except for smiles. Although nondescript, these folks radiate warmth and invitation.
These friendly souls beckon me to stay, but I never do. There’s no time for that yet. I need to depart…
The people I see for who they are; the ones who visit the town I never been and house I never lived, are those I know. Or knew.
They are people long gone.
Loved ones from the past. My past. Friends, family, mentors. It comforts me to see the serene expressions on their faces as they investigate and enjoy the town I’ve never been.
Mind you, once I succumb to sleep, I have no idea if the town will ever again enter my nocturnal thoughts. I have no idea who’ll I’ll run into.
A couple of nights ago, dad came by. Haven’t seen him in a while. He tried to tell me something. His mouth moved, formed words. Yet they were non-sensical, jibberish, as much as I tried to understand.
I probably wasn’t ready to hear what he was saying.
The town I never walked is a place of comfort. I’m always excited to visit. The home with the Bonsai tree is a sanctuary, a fortress of love.
I watch the sun from the deck as it gives up the last edge of light. The dying warmth makes everything gleam; the dull, faded wood of the town I never been, appears to glow.
I drove someone who’s alive into the town I never been.
Her breathing radiates with the sun. A slight crinkle to her nose when she smiles which I can never forget, makes me believe she’s earned a visit to the town I never been. The burnt of leaves warms the already-natural beauty of her face.
We navigate a convertible through the trees.
She’s happy for the adventure.
And with this woman I’ve been to the house I never been…
The farmer waves.
The shopkeepers smile.
The Bonsai bows.
The woman’s hair captures the sweet fragrance carried on air.
The town thrives.
But with eyes open, life has a way of saying.
Visit me whenever you like, you cannot stay.
We’re not ready for you.
You are not ready for us.
But someday, this white road you travel will be your last.
And it’ll be the best day, ever.